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Saturday, 19 April 2014

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Carlisle woman's crime among 'lowest of the low' says judge

A female burglar who has repeatedly preyed on vulnerable and elderly people has been jailed for a fresh spate of crimes.

Michelle Morris photo
Michelle Fagan Morris, of Carlisle: Admitted two thefts and a burglary and was jailed for two years and five months

A judge told Michelle Fagan Morris, 36, that her crimes were among the “lowest of the low” after hearing that her latest victims were a 71-year-old Good Samaritan, a man with learning difficulties and a young family targeted just days before Christmas.

At Carlisle Crown Court, Morris, formerly of William Street, Stanwix, pleaded guilty to two thefts and a burglary. She was jailed for two years and five months.

Gerard Rogerson, prosecuting, described how her first victim was a pensioner who saw her gesturing at his living room window at 11pm on December 16 as he sat watching TV in his home in Freshfield Court, Botcherby.

“She asked him to let her in to use the toilet,” said Mr Rogerson. The pensioner agreed, making Morris a cup of tea and giving her soup.

“She told him she’d had a tough time, sleeping rough; that she’d split up with her boyfriend.

“He felt sorry for her. He allowed her to have a bath, and she slept in his bedroom while he slept on the sofa.”

The pensioner also let Morris check her Facebook account on his computer.

The man even made her breakfast, and gave her £40 in change to fund a bus trip to Newcastle where she said she would visit relatives.

But half an hour after she left the man noticed that his wallet containing £25 in cash, his driving licence and cards was missing.

Mr Rogerson said: “He is a retired pensioner, living alone, who let this female into his home in good faith, trying to be a Good Samaritan.

“He felt embarrassed and upset, feeling that the kindness he showed to her at Christmas time had been badly betrayed. He won’t be as trusting in the future.”

The second offence, the burglary, happened the following day. A 50-year-old woman was woken by a noise at 3.30am and found the defendant downstairs, peering round the living room door.

Morris fled, taking some Christmas presents, a purse, house keys and the woman’s daughter’s school bag.

The very next day, Morris targeted a 57-year-old man with learning difficulties, who lives alone. She persuaded him to let her into his house by saying she needed the toilet, and once in there stole his wallet, containing £40.

The man was left feeling insecure and upset, said Mr Rogerson, adding that Morris’s criminal record included 92 offences, including several where she targeted vulnerable or elderly people, on one occasion stealing the war medals of a retired soldier.

Kim Whittlestone, defending, said: “She had nowhere to live and was under the influence of substances.”

But there was a marked difference in her client, who had reduced her dependence on the heroin substitute methadone and had now re-established contact with her 19-year-old son.

Miss Whittlestone added: “She’s had enough and thinks it’s time to get herself sorted out.”

Judge Barbara Forrester described Morris’s offences as “mean and nasty”, adding that stealing from a man with learning difficulties who had tried to help had been “the lowest of the low”.

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